Prosecutors in Kansas City, Missouri filed criminal charges against the alleged homeowner Shooting by Ralph EarleA black teenager who went to the wrong house to pick up his siblings was shot last week.
At a news conference Monday evening, Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson announced two felony charges against the suspect, Andrew D. Lester, who he described as an 85-year-old white man. The charges are one count of assault in the first degree, which carries a possible penalty of life in prison, and one count of armed criminal action.
“My heart goes out to the children and families involved in this case,” Thompson said. He said the victim was shot twice, hit in the head and arm.
“The probable cause statement indicates that the rounds were fired through a glass door,” Thompson said, adding that “the victim in the case did not cross the threshold.”
“As the Clay County prosecutor, I can tell you there was a racial element to the case,” he added, though he did not elaborate. The
Thompson said the suspect was not yet in custody but a warrant had been issued for his arrest, with bond set at $200,000.
Shortly before the announcement, Kansas City police said a case file had been submitted to the Clay County Prosecutor’s Office “for their review and determination of charges” in the matter.
“Our office worked closely with the Kansas City Police Department on this case, and we would not be here today but for their hard work,” Thompson said. “We understand how frustrating this has been, but I can assure you that the criminal justice system is working and will continue to work.”
The shooting caused protests in Kansas City and a growing screams On social media, where lawmakers, activists and celebrities drew attention to the case
Earl, who is 16 years old, was critically injured in the shooting Thursday night. Earle’s father told CBS Kansas City affiliate KCTV that the teenager has now been released from the hospital and is recovering at home.
Earl wanted to pick up his brothers from a friend’s house on 115th Terrace, but he rang the doorbell at a house on 115th Street instead, Faith Spoonmore, the teen’s aunt, wrote online.
He said a man saw Earl open the door and shot him in the head, and when Earl fell to the ground, the man shot him again. Earl got up and ran from the property, but had to ask three different houses before someone helped him, Spoonmore wrote.
Kansas City police said they responded around 10 p.m
Police Chief Stacey Graves said Sunday that the homeowner was taken into custody Thursday and held for 24 hours, but then released in consultation with the county prosecutor’s office, while the investigation continued.
The Associated Press contributed reporting.